Monday, August 17, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 13

Calling all organizers! Good morning! Are you ready for a new Challenge? This is going to be another big week - we're going to corral all of your stamps. And I mean ALL of them. The key with stamps is that if you don't remember what you have, you likely won't use them. So you need to either have them stored in a way that you can see them, or have a good inventory system that you can reference. I'm going to cover foam, acrylic, rubber - images and alphabets, mounted and unmounted, as well as some suggestions for inventories.

The first order to organizing is to see what you have, what you want to keep, and how you'd like to store them. Go get your stamp box - yes, the one that's been sitting in the hallway for months now and has been annoying the daylights out of your husband. This is a great time to purge if you haven't done so already - the less product you have, the fewer things to sort! Now see what's left in your box. How's it working for you (gosh, Dr. Phil has SUCH great lines)? Are you ok with having several different storage methods for your stamps, or do you want them all in one place? Are you ok with wood mounts, or would you prefer them all to be cling? Do you go for stamps by theme or by manufacturer? Are there some stamps you LOVE but are a hassle to use - why is that? And what can fix that problem? Finally, stamp sets - do you want to keep these together or break them up? Start jotting down some answers to these questions (ie, keep wood mounted stamps as-is, separate alphas from non-alphas, keep sets together) - when you start looking at storage options, you're going to need to accommodate ALL of these categories you come up with. Which may mean only ONE storage method if you have a few stamps, or multiple if you have a good variety.

There is one option I'm going to mention at this point, which I know a lot of scrappers and stampers have done, and that's going to a complete cling system. Yes, that means un-mounting your wood stamps. Now, before I get hate mail, I LOVE wood stamps. I love how they sit on a shelf, I love the feel in my hand, but I DON'T love how they take up so much room and it's so hard to find what I'm looking for! I know a lot of you are in the same boat. So, about 5 years ago, I un-mounted ALL my wood stamps and put them onto EZ Mount (which has one side sticky to hold the rubber, the other side is cling like on the back of acrylic stamps). I have not once regretted my decision. I am now able to store ALL my stamps in one location, and it put it short - that rocks! Un-mounting is easy to do - here are a few tutorials in case you want to read some more before making a decision:

I have a pretty good number of stamps, but I was able to unmount them all in a weekend. It really doesn't take a lot of time (even though it looks daunting!) - great results for a small effort!

Now you have a good idea in your head of your inventory, let's talk storage. I'm going to post quite a few options in each category - mounted, acrylic (this includes unmounted rubber as well - anything that clings (except toddlers and needy husbands)), and foam. Check them out, and find which one(s) will work best for you. Please note that the links I posted are intended to give you a visual idea of what it is I'm talking about - it doesn't mean I endorse the product or the store.


In their original packaging in bins, baskets or boxes:
In DVD tins: or DVD cases:
On plastic sheets in a 3-ring binder: or or - you could also use baseball card pages or business card sleeves as well.
In binder boxes: - here's her source:
In a storage box by category:
In a travel binder, great for crops!
Making Memories stamp storage binder:
Little Monkeys storage system:
Clear CD storage cases: If you go this route, make sure to get the ORIGINAL CD storage cases, not the "slimline" ones.
In the original packaging, on a Clip It Up
7 Gypsies revolving stamp holder:
Clear file folders:
In document boxes - Target used to have these in the $1 Spot, but I've seen some green ones in the scrapbooking aisle (and NOT for $1!). I've heard some people have found them at import stores as well: I found some similar ones at Office Max - they're thicker with a better clasp.
In their original packaging, in a recipe box.
For CTMH My Acrylix stamps - the CTMH organizer box
EZ Mount Stamp N Store panels:
Tim Holtz stamp binder:
Stampendous Perfectly Clear tote:
Technique Tuesday stamp portfolio: Cropper Hopper Zip n Flip sheets:
Blockhead Stamps has some cases and binders as well:


Backed with velcro or magnets on boards/walls:
In $1 boxes from Target
In glass jars, by letter, font or theme
In stackable trays
In ziploc bags, stacked or hanging
Back with foam core and store in vertical paper holders or magazine files


In plastic envelopes:
Wood storage unit, like a printers chest or map drawers:
On shelves:
Stacked in acrylic photo frames:
In stamp storage boxes: In shallow plastic drawer units - good for a few stamps, your unit will sag and the drawers will stick or derail if you overload it!
Stacked in clear shoe boxes - again, good for a few, ideally you don't want to stack your stamps
Crop In Style punch pal - designed for punches, but would work great for stamps!
Mimi stamp case: - you can also use ammo boxes for the small wooden stamps
Crop In Style Stamp Store:
In a tackle box, great for a small stash or for crops!
Craft Locker Wheel and Handle storage:
Cube Kit G from Mini Stackables:
In pizza boxes
Scrap N Cube has a wooden shelf system, add the optional drawers and you have a great setup:

So, there you go - figure out which solution will work best for YOUR stash and YOUR space, then start dividing those stamps into the proper locations. I wouldn't put them away just yet tho - you're going to want to do an inventory of them, which I'll get to in a minute. First, I want to show you my storage system, which I've been thrilled with. I have 2 systems for ALL my stamps - they're either alpha stamps or non-alpha stamps. For my NON-alpha stamps, I use the document boxes from Target. They take up the top shelf on 4 of my cabinets - I'm on the taller side so I can reach them fairly easily. They're all labeled on the spine, from 1 to 24 (some numbers have multiple boxes):

Inside, I am able to cling my stamps to both surfaces of the box. The boxes are also thick enough to accommodate foam stamps WITH acrylics on both sides! I recently found out my wood-mounted Unity stamps will also fit well, without having to unmount them. I have one theme per box, and each theme gets a number as well. So 1 is florals, 2 is punctuation, 3 is boy, 4 is winter/Christmas, 5 is travel, 6 is get the idea.

I label the outside as well, so it's easy to see what theme each box holds.

Now, to keep track of what I have (especially since I break up some sets), I came up with an inventory system on a Rolodex. I like the Rolodex because it's easy to take out cards - if I purge a stamp, or if I want to toss in a card into a page kit to remember to use that stamp with that set. Very easy to put back, and very easy to flip through. Each of my categories is in the Rolodex, numbered from 1 to 24, and I have the stamped image of that stamp from that box in the Rolodex. I either stamp the image, or cut it out from product packaging and tape it to the Rolodex page. Each image is labeled with the manufacturer and set name. So under tab 1 (Florals) in my Rolodex, I have a cut out of an Autumn Leaves floral stamp from the package and taped on there, and the actual stamp is in my #1 document box on my shelf (also labeled "Floral"). When I need to find a daisy stamp, I flip through my Rolodex to see if I have one I want. If it's there, I grab the #1 box(es) and get it. If not, I log on to 2Peas and buy one. ;)

I use this same inventory system for my alpha stamps, with a second Rolodex:

Now, I store my alpha stamps a little bit differently. My main method is using CD cases - not the slimline, the ones with the black insert that you can pop out. I found that about 85% of my alphas will fit into a CD case. For the ones that are larger, I just use a document box and store them on a shelf below my non-alpha stamps.

The CD cases are numbered, starting at 1. They are not numerical in my Rolodex - I found that really doesn't matter, since I just flip through there until I find the set I want. Then I see the number assigned to that set and go to my CD storage boxes, which are up on a shelf. All the CD cases in those boxes are labeled on the spine for easy viewing and ARE in numerical order:

The boxes themselves are also labeled to show which sets they contain, which makes it easy to grab the right box off the shelf!

That's my system, in a nutshell. The only thing I left off is my stamping wheels - I just keep those in a drawer with my stamp cleaner and my acrylic mounting blocks. I have the images inventoried in my Rolodex under the correct theme, however - I just make sure that it's labeled as a wheel.

I want to share one more non-traditional method for storing sets, which I used to do before breaking mine up. I found these awesome garden hangers at Hobby Lobby in their summer clearance. They are great for holding the Studio G sets and sets that come in tins (like Gelatins). Another option on the Studio G sets - I know a lot of Peas store them in baseball card pages in a binder or they fit perfect in an ATC holder. Brilliant!

I know there are a gazillion stamp storage options out there, so if you've found one that works for you - please post it!

In closing, I want to add my 10 rules for organizing. I'm going to post these at the end of every challenge, because I think that they are very, very important. I want you to keep them in mind as you tackle each of these projects - they will make your life easier and the task less daunting.

1. Label your containers.
2. Be consistent in your methods.
3. Don't be too specific - your search for your items within your space should be short and simple.
4. Your organizational method should be easy to take out AND put away.
5. When organizing, break any large piles into smaller groupings. Have a 2 foot tall stack of paper to sort? Do it in 1" high chunks, it will be easier to handle mentally.
6. If it's something that you use on almost every project, then keep it within reach of your main scrap area.
7. Don't stress your containers. Get a new system or purge your stash.
8. For most items, product packaging adds bulk. Toss it. One exception - rub ons.
9. Repurpose when you can - almost anything can be painted or covered in paper/fabric.
10. THE GOLDEN RULE - FIRST choose an organizational method, THEN choose a container that fits your space and style. Always shop for containers with a list in hand - a beautiful container is simply clutter if it doesn't have a dedicated purpose in your space!
Your lovely stamps are now all organized. Whoo hoo! Now go take care of all those chores you put off while surfing websites, and come join me for Week 14 next week, when a-cropping we will go!



  1. Thank you for taking the time to help all of us! I'd like to know who makes the CD storage boxes you use? Again your help is so appreciated.

  2. This is fabulous! Thank you! Just an FYI....I had placed a huge order with Little Monkeys in June and ended up filing a long, drawn-out PayPal claim which I won, when they took my money and did not send my goods or communicate with me despite many attempts on my part. I just don't want anyone to go through what I did.

  3. Sorry for the delay in responding! The CD boxes are from Target - I don't know the name of them, but they were still there last time I checked.

  4. We would like to know how many square feet your scrapbooking takes in your studio. Also, how big is the room overall?

  5. Hi I just read this post and I know it is a little old but hopefully you will still respond to it. I love the roledex system!! I was wondering what catagories you have them divided into and I was also wondering about breaking up set!! Oh the horror!! lol I am wondering to what extent you do break them up. I do not sell stamps, they are for my own use and pleasure so keeping them in the sets is not necessary. I can guess you might put all like sentiments together, ex happy birthday, thinking of you... and maybe some objects like hearts or such. But do you go as far as to seperate all flowers, all baby geared, people... do you remove all sentiments fro the stamps they come with or just common ones as mentioned above. I do have a lot of stamps and have them in cd cases and tried grouping by catagories, animalds, floral, love ... but keeping sets together and deciding bases on the main focus of the set, I then alphabetized each catagoy. Well as you may have guessed, to hard to maintain and find things. So I love your idea of numbering and the roledex. But I have a tendency to make too many catagories lol Would love a little more detail as to how you have set your collection up. thank you!